You know those moments when you realize you are responsible for teaching your kiddo major life lessons and you fear you are failing miserably? The moment when you look at your child and all you can think is, Dear God, help us?
I bought Solomon a few shirts at a second hand store recently. They were in good condition, looked comfy and "cool." I was excited to give him his little surprise, just-because gift.
His reaction appalled me.
"That's not new. I don't like those."
Long story short, I came to the realization that my child had never experienced wearing a hand-me-down. While living in Mexico, we were not close to family or friends whom would potentially share used clothing with us. He only has one older male cousin, but the age gap is much too large.
I remember last year at his school in Guadalajara they had a "green" day when all the children were supposed to wear a hand-me-down. Shoot.
But, of course, time just goes on and we forget about these things. Until my son rejects a gift I bring him because it is not NEW. We had a conversation about how lots of kids never have new clothes, and how when something is a gift we accept it and we are thankful. But mostly I just fumbled over my words in frustration while inside I seethed with anger. Mainly anger at myself for somehow letting it come to this point.
Since this day, we have had two not pretty outbursts related to wearing these shirts. Seriously. The other day, the most recent, I lost my mind. I was boiling mad inside that I had somehow allowed my child to become a spoiled brat. It was shame that I felt, but instead I directed my anger at my six year old. I knew in my heart it really is not his fault. But, I simply reacted. And then instantly I felt awful.
I guess I don't have the answers for how to instill gratitude and simplicity in our children. Or whatever else it is we are missing over here at our house. I know that it's not by flipping out like I did. (I'm sorry Solomon.) Rainer and I went to the school to have lunch with him that afternoon because all I could think about was hugging him and saying I'm sorry... I'm broken... We all are.
At work that night I asked my colleague for a family my boys could buy Christmas presents for. She gave me a list of four little girls, and you better believe my boys were walking the bright pink aisles with me, picking out dress up heels and Dora puzzles. Did it hit home for them? I don't really know yet. But, it's a start.